A TOTAL of eight people were killed in the UK after being crushed by falling branches or trees during the last 12 months. 

Health and Safety Executive chiefs confirmed the figure as they warned the public to only call on trained professionals to remove any trees damaged by recent storms Arwen and Barra, which sent 100 mph winds across the country. 

With clean-up operations expected to last for months - if not years - government officials have urged landowners to avoid moving windblown and hanging trees on their own, given the dangers of both. 

READ MORE: Two forestry workers die just days apart in Wales after being crushed by trees

Christopher Maher, Arboriculture lead at HSE,  said: “While fallen trees due to adverse weather conditions can cause lots of disruption and it can be tempting to carry out emergency tree work, we want to warn people against attempting this high-risk activity.

“Fallen trees can be unstable and weigh a significant amount, with inadvertent movement having fatal results.

"There are also high risks associated with the use of chainsaws and mechanised methods of removal, such as grapple saws and tree shears, are preferred.

Forestry Journal: Scores of trees were damaged when the storm swept through the UK Scores of trees were damaged when the storm swept through the UK

"See FISA’s latest e-bulletin and their grapple saw and tree shears safety guide for more details." 

The 2021 total likely includes two forestry workers who were killed just days apart after being crushed by trees in Wales. As we have told previously, a chainsaw operator and tree surgeon lost their lives in separate October incidents. 

Christopher added: "Please seek the services of a competent professional who can manage the risks associated with this type of work.”